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#2259402 - 04/09/14 10:56 PM Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2625
Recording review request:

https://app.box.com/s/r6tvgw77klwblpt34yin

As for the piano:

I would be interested to hear from any/all musicians (especially if you are a professional pianist) to see how I have fared in the recording above. I put a lot of work into performing this piece as it was recorded at my Roland V-Piano with the "Silver Extreme" strings preset which has exceptional resonance and decay and most other digitals fall short on this due to short sound samples. The keyboard response is excellent and the ability to control and shift dynamics while playing (especially at "pp") is very good. I am able to impart subtle dynamics in the playing that are very close to what you can do on a real acoustic piano. In my opinion the V-Piano is currently the only digital piano available that gives the player acoustic-like piano response and the sounds it generates can be quite stunning.

Notes on the score:

Moments musicaux, Op. 16

Anyone that has familiarity with this piece knows it is a true "gem" in regards to its ethereal and haunting tonal beauty and if the dynamics are handled well throughout the score some very nice effects are achieved. In particular, in measure 39 there are "pp" chords in the R.H. (mostly beats 2 and 3) and they should be contrasted sharply with the chord that is played before and the ones after it. Also, in measures 47 and 49 the R.H. chords should be rendered very soft (pp) but also requires that the player brings out the lowest note of each chord with a little more weight (i.e., the "tenuto" markings) in a melodic line of its own. This, for me, is the most important part of the piece to highlight which lends serious impact to the heightened emotion of the two measures, 47 and 49. These two bars can be literally heart breaking when rendered in this manner.

The piece has an innate flowing barcarolle-like feel to it and the overall mood is tranquil (except for measures 23 - 29) although there is also a real sense of deep Russian sorrow and reflection.

Any thoughts or comments on the recording are welcome and be sure your volume is turned up when listening to capture all the details in the performance.

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#2261820 - 04/14/14 10:53 PM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: pv88]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6296
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: pv88
Recording review request:

https://app.box.com/s/r6tvgw77klwblpt34yin

As for the piano:

I would be interested to hear from any/all musicians (especially if you are a professional pianist) to see how I have fared in the recording above. I put a lot of work into performing this piece as it was recorded at my Roland V-Piano with the "Silver Extreme" strings preset which has exceptional resonance and decay and most other digitals fall short on this due to short sound samples. The keyboard response is excellent and the ability to control and shift dynamics while playing (especially at "pp") is very good. I am able to impart subtle dynamics in the playing that are very close to what you can do on a real acoustic piano. In my opinion the V-Piano is currently the only digital piano available that gives the player acoustic-like piano response and the sounds it generates can be quite stunning.

Notes on the score:

Moments musicaux, Op. 16

Anyone that has familiarity with this piece knows it is a true "gem" in regards to its ethereal and haunting tonal beauty and if the dynamics are handled well throughout the score some very nice effects are achieved. In particular, in measure 39 there are "pp" chords in the R.H. (mostly beats 2 and 3) and they should be contrasted sharply with the chord that is played before and the ones after it. Also, in measures 47 and 49 the R.H. chords should be rendered very soft (pp) but also requires that the player brings out the lowest note of each chord with a little more weight (i.e., the "tenuto" markings) in a melodic line of its own. This, for me, is the most important part of the piece to highlight which lends serious impact to the heightened emotion of the two measures, 47 and 49. These two bars can be literally heart breaking when rendered in this manner.

The piece has an innate flowing barcarolle-like feel to it and the overall mood is tranquil (except for measures 23 - 29) although there is also a real sense of deep Russian sorrow and reflection.

Any thoughts or comments on the recording are welcome and be sure your volume is turned up when listening to capture all the details in the performance.


Seems like you've already provided plenty of thoughtful comments for us. grin I enjoyed both the recording (piano sound and your interpretation) and your observations about the piece. Impressive as the V-piano is, however, it still falls short of the sound of a real acoustic. Nevertheless, I'm impressed by the degree of dynamic variety and nuance that is possible on it. Thanks for sharing.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2261869 - 04/15/14 01:02 AM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: carey]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2625
Originally Posted By: carey
Seems like you've already provided plenty of thoughtful comments for us. grin I enjoyed both the recording (piano sound and your interpretation) and your observations about the piece. Impressive as the V-piano is, however, it still falls short of the sound of a real acoustic. Nevertheless, I'm impressed by the degree of dynamic variety and nuance that is possible on it. Thanks for sharing.


Yes, you are absolutely correct the V-Piano will never be able to match a real acoustic piano although it is certainly one of the best digitals I have ever played due to its remarkable soundboard and string resonance plus impressive decay parameters which can be extended to very good effect with a twist of the dial. It is the wide dynamic range and responsive action that gives the V-Piano a significant advantage over sample-based digitals.

The piece I play is a prime example of late period romanticism that is well served by a decent piano and a player that is able to bring out the nuance in the music as you have mentioned. There is one other performance I have heard that is also worth noting below. As I was quite impressed with the sensitive playing and extraordinarily wide range of dynamics when listening to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCcrNGUYoW8

The key to getting the most out of Lola Astanova's performance is to listen to the audio without watching the player as I am afraid many of us might get easily distracted by her mannerisms during the performance including the somewhat provocative and sexy attire. Even so, I like her unabashed style! That being said there is a lot to be taken from her sensitive and subtle "pp" playing near the end and the bold approach that is given to the climactic middle section. She does not hold back the raw and turbulent emotion that is most aptly projected. Some folks may think this is rather "extreme" playing although I liken it to being simply natural and inventive with plenty of personality to boot!

Also, the slower than typical tempo by Lola Astanova is to be commended as I also happen to perform the piece in a similar amount of time and I tend to not like performances that sound hurried. I would not recommend taking it at the snail's pace that Ivo Pogorelich does (in another YouTube video which is very unique in its own right) although it does sound convincing at slower tempos allowing the player to give far more space and breadth to the music.

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#2262848 - 04/17/14 12:37 AM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: pv88]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5296
Loc: Philadelphia
I first saw your post on the 9th, but have only now gotten a chance to listen. I'd like to comment, but since I don't think I've ever done so on one of your recordings let me start by saying what immediately follows is a "running commentary" (ie- what I hear as I listen). It will be more constructive in nature. After that, I'll give general impressions. I hope that's okay. smile

mm2 - I thought beat two was a little strong. Based on how you accented the F, I thought you'd bring out the Gb in the LH and keep the RH a little softer. (Another thought is that the Ab might have been too subtle, because the 2nd beat matches the 3.5 beat, and the downbeat of the next measure more closely than the Ab on beat 1.)

mm4 - Last beat is a triplet. You didn't line it up vertically. (I'm okay with it, if it was artistic license. But I would probably play it as a triplet to separate it a little better from mm2.)

mm9-14 - keep track of beat 1. Rach really stretches this line, and while it isn't necessary, it can help ground the measures into some sense of time. (Your LH keep time, but the RH is a little more accented -- probably the keyboard, even though it is outstanding for a keyboard -- in places that perhaps it shouldn't be.)

On second thought, after going through the rit. just before the a tempo, I'm thinking that I'm really reacting to the fact that you don't line up the notes vertically. (ie- triplets should play together.) In my opinion, which of course is just me, if you use rubato in one hand, you should use it relatively equally in the other hand so the music lines up. It creates a very different effect in the music -- not necessarily better or worse, just one that I usually prefer when I perform pieces like this. But enough of that, I'll leave it here.. I'm sure if you're interested, you'll be able to track it through the piece. I won't comment on it again. smile

mm29 - get that rolled chord a little more even. Seemed a little disjointed. How do you currently finger it? If you don't already, might I suggest 5 on the Fb, then 1-5 on the Bb-Bb octave? Might be a little easier than if you're trying to block the bottom chord up to the Bb, and then make the leap.

A few measures later, at the E-maj shift, you really slow down. Intended?

At the pp roll: first, the note before. Why did you break it? I'm not sure I would make the same musical decision, but I liked the effect. Just curious why you chose to do that (and to break it "down" instead of "up"). Now, the roll: why did you delay the top Ab. I actually thought you had a very nice soft roll going, until the Ab didn't land on top. To me, it seemed to break the flow a little.

I'm going to guess this was the keyboard, but in the next few measures, I didn't really sense much volume change. The reason I'm going to guess keyboard is because I could hear a difference in the way the key was struck (or in this case, the way the keyboard played the sample), even though I didn't hear much difference in volume. So, I'm guessing you're actually doing this right, but the instrument itself hindered you here.

If I'm counting right, mm48 - return to p, lone Db in the RH. I would probably completely clear the pedal here, so you get a real solid return to Db. The piece has been wandering, but here is a very clear return to Db, and I would emphasize that. Again, could be the instrument, because a real pedal would behave differently, but just a real subtle thing I heard.

mm49 - can you accent the bottom note without breaking the chord? I think the effect would be better that way. Also, don't forget the C-nat under the Fm third, and the Db at the next measure. It goes down, but also comes back up.

mm52 - it says mf, but I feel like your were a little strong with these notes. Bringing them out is fine, but I think they overpowered what else was going on.

mm53-54 - Like mm52, I think you can be a little less heavy with the top note in the LH and still get the effect you want. But as loud as it is, it's drowning out the Db, which has to resonate through.


Some overall comments:

Consider the moving musical line, and the call-and-response (or "statement and answer") Rach employs throughout this piece. In the opening, you swell into the first Db whole note chord. In the response, you should ebb back into Db. Little things like that will greatly improve the musical line you're playing so well.

I would also consider playing a little more subtly with the LH top note vs the RH bottom note/chord. Take a look at mm10. Great place to bring out that E-nat, but you play it so loudly that it drowns out the remaining music, so we get a solid change instead of a subtle shift. It sounds heavily accented, instead of a much lighter modulation.

Consider creating a softer 'base' for the piece. If I had to describe your dynamic center, I would probably say it is somewhere between mf and f. Now, that could be because I'm listening on headphones that are jacked up, it could be the keyboard, the recording itself, any number of things that have nothing to do with your playing. But it could also be your playing so I wanted to mention it. It could be general dynamic feel, or sharply accented notes that are accented well above the overall sound. If it happens to be that, I'd suggest taking a look at it, and maybe crafting an overall dynamic closer to mp or even p. And create more variance, more subtlety in the dynamic changes and the modulations.


I hope you find some of this useful. I enjoyed your performance, and only commented so specifically because you asked for it. I can tell you put a lot of work into the interpretation, and I didn't want to shortchange you by not putting any thought into my comments. Thanks again for sharing, and nicely performed! smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2262869 - 04/17/14 01:47 AM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: Derulux]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2625
@Derulux,

Thanks for the highly detailed review as I may want to consider many of the things you have outlined regarding the playing. Please note (as I have probably said this before) that I am an advanced "amateur" player and not a professional pianist.

I already have some underlying faults in the mechanics of my playing as these bad habits have become somewhat ingrained over many years (as I will be 55 in May) and more recently have been encountering a computer typing issue with sensitivity in the index finger of the right hand and tension in the wrists. I also have a tendency to slouch a bit when sitting due to a minor spinal curvature I have had since birth. This tends to create tension in my back when sitting for longer periods at the piano. Aside from these physical issues I intend to continue playing as freely as possible and avoid tension, generally.

In a piece that does not involve much in the way of technical skill (like this Moment Musical) I do not encounter as much tension in the hands when playing although it does still arise in the left hand where one needs to pivot the hand around certain notes to facilitate the larger stretches in the triplets. I have fairly large hands that can take in an 11th. Large hands do not automatically make for easier playing where large stretches occur since one wants to allow the hand to play as many notes as possible without hand shifting although I have found this to be a problem when the hand and/or fingers should be moved or shifted to eliminate awkward reaching for notes which can create tension.

Do appreciate all of your comments!

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#2263217 - 04/17/14 08:15 PM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: pv88]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5296
Loc: Philadelphia
Anytime! I'm glad you may find some of it useful. smile

I can't believe you can take an 11th! I can barely get a 10th, and that makes it very hard for me when there's a change from black keys to white keys (like Db-F). As a result, I usually reposition the hand instead of trying to "reach" for it. I was looking at the piece, and you can probably redistribute quite a bit of it into the RH, but it does make things unnecessarily complex. Still, if it's causing you issues, might be worth looking at. You can also connect a lot with the pedal, so letting go a little isn't noticeable.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2263942 - 04/19/14 04:02 AM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: Derulux]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2625
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I can't believe you can take an 11th!

As for the left hand I can just barely stretch C, A, F - (5, 2, 1) at the very edges of the white keys and a little easier would be C#, A#, F# - (5, 2, 1) on the black keys in which I can play all three notes without striking other keys. Usually, a 10th is the best I can do in any piece that has this interval without rolling or breaking the notes.

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#2264030 - 04/19/14 10:47 AM Re: Rachmaninoff: Moment Musical No. 5 [Re: pv88]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6296
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: pv88
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I can't believe you can take an 11th!

As for the left hand I can just barely stretch C, A, F - (5, 2, 1) at the very edges of the white keys and a little easier would be C#, A#, F# - (5, 2, 1) on the black keys in which I can play all three notes without striking other keys. Usually, a 10th is the best I can do in any piece that has this interval without rolling or breaking the notes.

I have no problem playing the two LH chords you mention above - and never have a problem playing 10ths. My RH, however, doesn't stretch quite as far - and is only capable of playing 10ths. In fact, it appears that my RH pinky (when stretched) is 1/2 inch shorter than the LH pinky - which is something I've never noticed until now. Interesting...
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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